As we enter the new year, many people sit down and reflect on the year passed and the days ahead. Often times these type of reflections take the perspective of what can I do to better myself personally this coming year. Exercise more. Watch less television. Be more diligent and not procrastinate. Get organized. Keep my closets more organized, and on and on and on.
Today, I would like to encourage you to look outside your own needs and even beyond the needs of your immediate family. I know many young couples who work with us or participate in our swim schools and summer sports camps. They are juggling infants and toddlers and various parental responsibilities as well as their jobs and other family relationships. You cannot imagine finding the time to do anymore.
Well, I'd like to tell you that you can! Many of the good things in our society run on the effort of volunteers. I do believe in the 80 - 20 rule. Eighty (80%) percent of the work seems to get done by twenty (20%) of the people. Look at your local school parent organization or playgroup or soccer team or baseball league or church. My bet is that you will find many of their better activities are being run and organized by people who already have a lot on their to-do lists. Those people can always find the time to coach a team, organize a fund raiser, visit a homeless shelter, sing in the choir and prepare a meal for a sick friend.
Today many people complain about things. Bad coaches of soccer or basketball teams. No organization at the back to school night. The fund raiser was not a success, so our school cannot afford the new computers. All of the homeless wandering our streets.
Have you ever heard a parent complain about bad referees during a kids soccer game. Where do they think the referees come from? Is there a referee store? Do they think the league organizers go down and order a referee for a game at 11 o'clock on a Saturday morning? Of course these referees and coaches come from the pool of parents whose children participate in these various sports programs. Often times I have known of a soccer referee who could not watch his own child play because he was refereeing a game for a different team.
So this year, I would encourage you to make a resolution to get involved. Whether it is in your church, your school, a charity whose work you believe in locally. It can be simple. We have a charity here in Phoenix called Maggie's Place. They operate homes for unwed mothers in Phoenix and Coeur D Alene, Idaho. The moms can live in the homes during their pregnancy and for up to six (6) months after the baby is born. They have volunteers who just come in and hold the new born babies for a few hours a week. Your commitment does not have to be too onerous. You do not have to be the chairperson for a major fundraiser in your community. But you can find the time to make some phone calls, or cut out decorations or even be part of the cleanup crew after the church carnival or softball tournament.
If you are the parent of an infant or toddler, you may be tempted to say, well I won't need those services for my children for at least three or four more years. Well, I am here to remind you that if you do not help today, the sports team or church project or community activity you hope to use in the future may not still be in existence!
So for your emotional well-being, look outside yourself this year! Resolve to Volunteer, it is a great feeling.